Presentation Skills-Know Your Material Well

One of the most important things you can do to gain more confidence when presenting is to spend the time it takes to really know your material well. Think about it. Before you take a test, you’re more confident if you’ve spent a lot of time studying. The same holds true when it comes to presentations. The better you know your material, the more confident and less nervous you’ll be.

Know Your Material WellFirst make sure your content and data are correct. You can do this by having your teacher, another student, or friends look it over to verify its accuracy. You’ll be less nervous if you’re confident your content is accurate.

Once you’re happy with the material you’re going to present there are a few ways you can get to know your material well. You don’t have to memorize your presentation, and in fact most professional speakers recommend you don’t. But here are some tips to help you get to know your material inside and out:

  • Practice your speech several times before the day comes to give it. That will make you very familiar with the material.
  • If you can, practice your presentation in front of others, and at the presentation site. The more you’re familiar with all aspects of your presentation, the less nervous you’ll be. You can do a “dress rehearsal” and practice the presentation dressed in the same clothes you plan to wear the day of the speech.
  • Another thing you can do to get to know your material is to write it down on small cards you can use during the presentation. Writing down your main points and any supporting data to go with them is a great way to ensure your knowledge of your content.
  • You can also try recording your presentation and listening to it a few times a day. Make sure that the recording you use is one you like and free of mistakes.
  • When you practice in front of your friends, have them ask you questions. If you can’t answer their questions correctly, you may not know your material as well as you think you do. If they’ve thought of these questions, chances are someone else in the audience will too. Go back over your presentation to make sure you can answer your friends’ questions.
  • Knowing your material is just one step you can take to reduce your nervousness, but it’s one of the most important ones.

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